Saturday, August 30, 2008

West Meets East Blackberry Ginger Jam

You could truly say that no moss grows under my daughter Sam's feet....or algae between her toes, for that matter. She was hired to teach art and English in Seoul, South Korea while in the midst of getting her graduate degree. It was sort of a last minute arrangement, as she only had a month to prepare and to get all of the proper documentation. She started immediately, but these things move at their own, red taped pace. Her flight was booked to depart on August 29th at 8:30 am and she was to start teaching on September 1. Forget about recovering from jet lag and a 13 hour time difference. Once she received authorization to obtain her working visa, the South Korean Consulate put a rush on it so she could pick it up at 4:30 pm on the 28th of August. She had to get one last local adventure in before she left. So she packed her tent and sleeping bag, along with her passport and documentation for her visa, and headed into Boston for an early appointment at the consulate. No, she wasn't camping out in front of the consulate, but instead she interviewed for her visa, left her passport with them and drove straight to Long Wharf on Boston Harbor to catch a ferry to Lovells Island, one of the Boston Harbor Islands. There she would camp for the night with a friend who has been working on the island for the summer and catch the 1 pm ferry back to Boston the next day. It is a good thing the young have strong hearts, because this is not for the faint of heart or the "what if I don't make it back to get my visa for my flight to Seoul the next day" type of person. You know......the worried, motherly type. Alas, she arrived home early evening with her backpack on her back, her passport with visa in one hand and a gallon of the most beautiful freshly picked blackberries in the other hand. The next morning, after tearful goodbyes and crushing hugs, her flight departed into the clear Boston sky. To console myself, I came home and took stock of all of those wonderful blackberries. In honor of her West meets East, I decided to make Blackberry Ginger Jam. First though, I had to have a plate of those gems, dressed in all their glory. Then I needed to preserve them to enjoy through the winter, to sweetly remember my daughters Bon Voyage. This jam can be put on buttered toast, to top oatmeal or yogurt or even beside a pork roast.

Blackberry Ginger Jam

5 pints blackberries, rinsed
4 cups sugar
1 1.75 oz package of "Sure Jell for Less Sugar" fruit pectin
1 TBSP lemon juice
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 cup candied ginger, coarsely chopped

Prepare canning jars by boiling in water for 10 minutes. Pour boiling water over lids in a saucepan off of heat, and let stand until ready to use.

Crush berries with a potato masher and put 1/2 of the mixture through a food mill to remove seeds. Put the berries into a 6 or 8 quart saucepan. Put 4 cups of sugar In a separate bowl. Mix 1/4 cup of the measured sugar and 1 box of "Sure Jell for Less Sugar" fruit pectin in a small bowl. Stir pectin-sugar mixture into berries in the saucepan and bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in remaining sugar and return to a full rolling boil for exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly to make sure sugar dissolves. Take off of heat and thoroughly stir in ground ginger, candied ginger and lemon juice.

Ladle into prepared jars, filling to 1/2 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two piece lids and screw tightly. Let cool to room temperature and store unopened jars for 3 weeks in a refrigerator or freeze for up to a year. Makes 4 pints.

Note: This is
also excellent with blueberries. Just substitute blueberries for the blackberries.

Written and photographed by Diane

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